Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Father Lead Me Day By Day"1 (Lyrics)
Hooray! I had successfully made a pot of delicious homemade cream of tomato soup! Successfully making cream of tomato soup is not always easy, given the tendency of milk to curdle when it is combined with acidic tomatoes. I enjoyed a hot mug of my tomato soup for lunch, and then carefully put the leftovers in the refrigerator, looking forward to enjoying it again another day.
A day or two later, looking forward to a quick breakfast, I opened the refrigerator door and pulled out what I thought was a container of luscious pink berry smoothie. Pouring the smoothie into a glass, I took a sip and nearly spat it out! Instead of the sweet-tart treat that I was anticipating, my drink was salty and tangy! Assuming that my smoothie had soured, I walked over to the sink and began pouring it down the drain. It was only then that I saw the bits of tomato in my drink. It was my delicious cream of tomato soup, not my fruit smoothie that was going down the drain! Oops! Too late!
My brain had tricked my taste buds. I expected the pinkish concoction to be a sweet smoothie, so I totally missed the reality of creamy tomato soup in my glass. This was an honest, innocent misinterpretation. The mistake reminded me of the many times when I have misjudged others, sometimes honestly misinterpreting their actions and motives. Using my own faulty reflection as my guide, I sometimes wrongly see transgressions in others. I have sometimes been chagrined to learn later that I had badly misjudged someone. Had I taken time to get my facts straight first, I wouldn't have jumped to a false conclusion.
Relationships with others can often be tricky. We know that God is willing to forgive us for even our gravest transgressions — over and over and over again. Yet, we too often withhold forgiveness from others because we see them through our own faulty self-lens. Perhaps, God's full and free forgiveness is intended to have two purposes. First, He forgives us because we so desperately need it. But secondly, His forgiveness serves as a model for us in showing the way to forgive others. Knowing the price that Jesus paid on the cross in order to grant our forgiveness, how dare we withhold forgiveness from others?
Ephesians 4:32 – You must be kind to each other. Think of the other person. Forgive other people just as God forgave you because of Christ's death on the cross. (NLV)
Who have you misjudged? Who do you need to forgive?
Prayer: Dear Father, You have so graciously forgiven us because Jesus died to pay the price of our sin. Please give us discerning hearts so that we can rightly see others. May we withhold judgment, knowing that You see all hearts and that You are the ultimate and perfect Judge. Amen.